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Winter 2009-10 World Policy Journal "Water Wars: Beyond the Blue Revolution"


For Immediate Release

December 10, 2009


Media Contact:

Benjamin Pauker, Managing Editor

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World Policy Journal Winter edition 2010 coverAs the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen unfolds, World Policy Journal 2009/2010 winter issue, "Water Wars," examines the implications of the blue revolution.  

ON SALE DATE: December 17, 2009


The world's great conflicts of the future will revolve around what is now and will increasingly become the most valuable and vital commodity to the preservation and sustainability of life on earth--not oil or gas, neither gold nor diamonds, but water. From the arid reaches of the Middle East to African rivers being dammed by a generation of ill-considered moves by larcenous potentates to the rapidly melting Arctic icecap, World Policy Journal provides answers to the most critical questions confronting the ecologists and statesmen assembled at this very moment in Copenhagen--but the one that is most likely to be ignored: what lies beyond the blue revolution?

In the winter issue of World Policy Journal, Martin Chulov reports from Baghdad on drought: the next plague that Iraqis must contend with as American forces complete their pull-out. Peter Bosshard examines the way Chinese hydropower firms are rapidly damming the world's great rivers. In a Q&A with the editors, one of the Arab world's great public intellectuals, Ismail Serageldin, director of the Library of Alexandria, answers some hard questions about the potential for violence if the needs of water-starved people and nations are ignored. Alun Anderson examines the new Arctic after the "great melt"--which heralds the mass extinction of species, unbridled Russian oil exploration, and the potential opening of the Northwest Passage that eluded explorers for centuries.

On other subjects, writers in the winter issue offer an inside look at the prospects of the dangerous return by Ukraine to the nuclear club, and why "zero" is not a unrealistic number in the nuclear equation; the implications of the world's rising middle class; and a remarkable club of cartoonists working to promote Middle East peace.

Under the editorship of David A. Andelman, the pages of World Policy Journal are filled with articles written in a lively, non-academic style, coming from strong points of view that transcend the traditional foreign-versus-domestic policy divide. The journal's progressive, global outlook challenges conventional wisdom. The magazine stands out for its allergy to dogma and inclusion of a range of distinguished and new voices. In 2001, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service recognized World Policy Journal for having published nine of the 43 most influential foreign policy articles in the six years following the end of the Cold War-more than any other magazine. World Policy Journal is the flagship publication of the World Policy Institute, which

Foreign Policy magazine has ranked among the top 20 U.S. think tanks, out of nearly 1,800 in the United States and nearly 5,000 worldwide.

Summaries of articles in the winter 2009/2010 World Policy Journal follow below.

Media previews are available at the links embedded in the article titles.

Interviews with authors can be arranged upon


In World Policy Journal's brand-new introductory section, Paul Sullivan uncovers the hidden oceans beneath the Middle East that could quench the thirst of a growing population; a panel of experts debate whether global conflict will flow from the world's shrinking water supply; Russian author Valentin Rasputin waxes rhapsodic about the esoteric mysteries of Lake Baikal; and new graphics and maps illuminate the challenges of grappling with water shortages.

The Big Question: Will Global Conflict Flow from the Quest for Water Security?

Hidden Water, Crouching Conflict -- Paul Sullivan

Map Room: Water Scarcity

Lake Baikal: An Evocation -- Valentin Rasputin


REPORTAGE: Iraq: Water, Water Nowhere

The Guardian's Baghdad correspondent, Martin Chulov, brings to life Iraq's latest plague: drought. In southern Iraq, once the lavishly fertile, fabled Garden of Eden, Chulov walks the dry Iraq Droughtriver beds and salt flats that were the cradle of civilization. Iraq's water troubles are manifold: dams and diversions by upstream neighbors choke supply; severe shortages leave many tributaries of the mighty Tigris and Euphrates Rivers at a mere trickle; and years of war and turmoil have weakened the ability of the nation's leaders to effectively manage water resources. Millions of Iraqis have already been forced to leave their homes and fields in search of opportunities elsewhere. Unless the government can develop the nation's oil resources and shore up new industries, an even harsher future awaits those who have already withstood so much.

Facing Down the Hydro-Crisis

Peter Gleick warns of a global water crisis "of a magnitude unlike any before in human history." Shrinking supply, increasing demand, and climate change create an unprecedented urgency to act. Gleick lays out a series of proposals to address what he calls "the most critical resource issue facing humanity." Avoiding a perpetual water crisis will require creative and innovative strategies to better harness the economic value of water, increase efficiency, and improve standards--through national commitments toward green building and rainwater harvesting. But across borders, writes Gleick, we need stronger water-management institutions and international arbiters to help avoid the cascade of impending conflicts over this diminishing resource.

China Dams the World

Roughly half of all the largest dams are now within China's borders, making it the world's largestChina Damns the World producer of hydropower. But China's new water projects are largely abroad, writes International Rivers policy director Peter Bosshard. In order to open new markets and secure badly needed natural resources, Chinese hydropower firms have gone abroad, offering new dams on the cheap to foreign governments, especially African nations. The projects have become highly visible symbols of Beijing's economic cooperation and goodwill, at a time when Western powers have turned away from risky investments in troubled nations. The dams themselves, however, have not only wreaked havoc on the environment, but also have imperiled the lives of millions of people displaced by the rising waters. Will China's building boom spark a backlash?

CONVERSATION: Water Wars? Talking with Ismail Serageldin

Ismail Serageldin, former World Bank vice president and director of the Library of Alexandria, has predicted that the wars of the twenty-first century will be fought over not over religion, ideology, oil, or politics-- but water. In a wide ranging Q&A with the editors, Serageldin discusses why countries are increasingly demanding more water, why cross-border agreements and an international water agency are needed to mitigate future crises, and what a future Blue Revolution may look like.


The Great Melt: The Coming Transformation of the Arctic

In a sobering look at the effects of climate change, New Scientist magazine's former editor-
Melting Arcticin-chief Alun Anderson takes a peek at what the now-unstoppable massive polar ice cap melt will mean for politics at the top of the world. In what has been described as the largest unexplored area for petroleum on earth, the gradual opening of Arctic sea lanes has touched off more mapping expeditions in the last five years than the previous fifty. Disputes over borders and rights to resources underneath the seabed are almost certain to flare, and in an ominous forecast, Anderson warns that if countries fail to take steps to preserve the pole's changing ecosystem, we could end up with an Arctic wasteland at the top of our planet.

COUNTERPOINT: The Process of Zero

In a riposte to Amitai Etzioni's article in the fall issue of World Policy Journal, Jonathan Granoff argues that the process of moving towards a world free of nuclear weapons outweighs the risks, and that proven measures of verification and reductions can bring us tantalizingly close to this goal. We cannot sit still, says Granoff: the very existence of the superpowers' nuclear arsenal inherently promotes proliferation. Moreover, the world's nuclear weapons are not nearly as secure as we think they are. He cites a litany of nerve-wracking human and technological errors that nearly brought us to the precipice of nuclear war--and the threats are even greater today.

The Global Middle Class is Here: Now What?

By 2020, more than half the world's population will be middle class, bringing billions out of poverty, into schoolsChina Middle Class and the global workforce. This massive social movement will greatly increase standards of living, but it also threatens to put enormous strains on agriculture, scarce resources, and the environment. From the slopes of new Chinese ski resorts to the slums of Lagos, Jennifer Wheary tracks the dramatic increase in consumption that may exacerbate existing tensions within diverse political, economic, and social structures, and create strains that fledgling democracies are struggling to control. Will this rising tide really lift all boats?

Ukraine's Nuclear Nostalgia

The acclaimed Ukrainian writer and intellectual Mykola Riabchuk uncovers a frightening current in the land of Chernobyl: more than 50 percent of the nation not only resents the peaceful process of de-nuclearization that occurred following the Soviet demise, but also now wants to rebuild that capacity. This dangerous sentiment reflects both a desire for power and respect from European nations, but also is intended to counter a reinvigorated and aggressive Moscow. Is this a new arms race on the Russian steppe?

PORTFOLIO: Band of Brothers: Cartooning for Peace

Cartoons make us laugh. Sometimes they make us think. The collected artists of Cartooning forPortfolio Cartoon Peace hope they can also bring people and nations together. Since 1991, when the lead cartoonist of Le Monde asked both Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Israeli president Shimon Peres to doodle on the same Israeli-Palestinian cartoon, the group has championed the cause of humanity, peace, and unity through humor. In this rare collection of political art, World Policy Journal showcases extraordinary cartoons that embrace the promise and power of the pen.

CODA: Learning from Down Under

Why did "the land down under" emerge from the global financial crisis relatively unscathed, and what can the rest of the world glean from its example? World Policy Journal's editor David Andelman explores Australia's unique character--an aversion to the all-out profligacy that prevailed in other countries, particularly the United States; its role as a global citizen and willing member of international bodies; and its lack of hubris in supposing to impose this model elsewhere. We have much to learn from Australia, Andelman argues--and with a little prudence and humility, both global finance and governance could become infinitely more responsive and relevant to the challenges we face today.


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Since its founding in 1983, World Policy Journal has brought some of the most critical issues of our time to the attention of a global audience. The Journal's pages have generated many ground-breaking books including Ahmed Rashid's Jihad, Rajan Menon's End of Alliances, and Brian Steidle's The Devil Came on Horseback -which grew out of a photo essay published in World Policy Journal which played a major role in exposing the Darfur genocide. Essential reading for U.S. and global policy makers and thought leaders, World Policy Journal articles have been widely cited, including in a Canadian Supreme Court case.


About World Policy Institute  

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